By: Don Loepp
September 28, 2012
The auto industry is notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to new products, with suppliers of key parts sworn to secrecy until the automaker officially gives its approval.
On the other hand, state and local government officials — especially economic development directors — love to tout every new piece of business that comes into their district.
So Plasan Carbon Composites found itself with a dilemma in early April when the governor of Vermont wanted to check out Plasan’s facility in Bennington, where the company was making the hood, roof and trunk lid for Chrysler Group LLC’s 2013 SRT Viper.
The only problem was, the tour was set for April 2. Chrysler wasn’t rolling out the Viper until the New York Auto Show on April 4.
Plasan President Jim Staargaard’s eventual solution?
“I told them they could come, but they had to sign a non-disclosure form,” Staargaard last week told Plastics News staff reporter Rhoda Miel, who visited the company for a feature that’s on our website, “Plasan finds carbon-fiber niche.”
The governor’s office said it would be no problem for the party to sign off. “No,” Staargaard said, “the governor has to sign it too.”
Gov. Peter Shumlin did.
“He told me later that it was the first time anyone made him sign a non-disclosure form,” Staargaard said.
That might be the first time in history that a politician managed to keep good news secret!
As a reminder, Staargaard will speak on investing in carbon fiber for near-term production at the Nov. 6-7 Plastics in Lightweight Vehicles 2012 conference in Livonia, Mich.
Loepp is editor of Plastics News and author of “The Plastics Blog.”